Old friends Seals, Williamson reunite as coaches
BY BILL HAISTEN World Sports Writer
Saturday, December 08, 2012
12/08/12 at 5:17 AM
For the second time in 11 months, Pooh Williamson - one of the best point guards in University of Tulsa basketball history - returns to the Reynolds Center as a competitor of the Golden Hurricane.
Last season, he was a member of the SMU coaching staff. Now, he is a first-year member of the TCU coaching staff. The Horned Frogs and Hurricane clash in Saturday's noon contest, televised by Fox Sports Net.
When the SMU Mustangs were in Tulsa last season, Williamson's presence was a prominent sidebar. The 39-year-old Beggs native visited the Reynolds Center for the first time since the 2004-05 season - when he served as TU's interim head coach.
On Saturday, there again is personal significance. While Williamson occupies a seat on the TCU bench, a close friend - former TU teammate and roommate Shea Seals - has a place on the Tulsa bench. Seals is a member of coach Danny Manning's new Hurricane staff.
The Williamson-Seals friendship dates to the early '90s. During the 1993-94 and 1994-95 seasons, they were starting guards on Tubby Smith-coached Tulsa teams that advanced to the Sweet Sixteen level of the NCAA Tournament.
In 1993-94, Williamson was a junior while Seals was a freshman and the Missouri Valley Conference newcomer of the year.
"It was an unbelievably close team," Williamson recalled. "I wish every team did the things that we did. We hung together and we had actual friendships. Coach Tubby didn't tell us to do it. We wanted to do it.
"We had a weekly deal where we went to a dollar movie - over there at that theater at 31st and Sheridan. Or we'd go bowling as a team. We'd have 10 TU basketball players, bowling at Sheridan Lanes."
TCU is 6-3 and will play its first true road game of the season on Saturday.
TU is 5-3 after defeating Missouri State 61-42 on Wednesday. After Saturday, the Golden Hurricane doesn't play another home contest until Jan. 2 (Buffalo).
"Any time you have a Big 12 team (TCU) coming in, you know it's going to be a tough game," Manning said. "We've got our work cut out for us. We've got to go into this game with a better mind-set about rebounding the basketball. (The Horned Frogs) are an athletic team and they will go get the ball off the backboard."
As Williamson's professional path took him to Wichita State (2005-07), Texas A&M (2007-11) and SMU (2011-12), Seals launched his own coaching career. He was a head man at his alma mater (McLain High School), then coached Booker T. Washington to a pair of Class 5A state titles before joining Manning's TU staff.
"Pooh has been one of my best friends for a long time," said Seals, 37. "I've known him since even before I went to college. Seeing his journey in the coaching profession - it's been fun to watch. He was one of the guys who enticed me into becoming a coach. We've both always been students of the game."
During the 1994-95 season, Williamson averaged 12.8 points and committed a 32-game total of only 33 turnovers. Seals averaged 18.8 points and 6.9 rebounds. They both were All-Missouri Valley first-team selections.
"Obviously, Shea became a great scorer (TU's career record-holder) and a great player," Williamson said. "We had a lot of really smart guys who played for coach Smith. Gary Collier, Shea, Lou Dawkins, Cordell Love, Kwanza (Johnson) - we all went into coaching.
"Shea was a really talented, but also a very intelligent basketball player. He really knew the game, and I knew he could be a good coach."
TU up next
TCU at Tulsa Noon Saturday
Radio: KRMG am740, fm102.3
Gain doubleheader admission by bringing toy
The University of Tulsa men's and women's basketball teams and the Supporters of Families with Sickle Cell Disease have paired up to hold the Winter Wonderland Toy Drive at the TU basketball doubleheader on Saturday.
Fans can bring a new toy valued at $10 and receive a voucher for free admission to both games Saturday. The Golden Hurricane men host TCU at noon, followed by the women's team against Colorado State at 2:30 p.m., at the Donald W. Reynolds Center.
Toys donated to the Supporters of Families with Sickle Cell Disease will support the organization's education and therapeutic recreation programs.
Following in Tubby Smith's footsteps
Six members of TU’s 1993-94, Tubby Smith-coached basketball
team — an NCAA Sweet Sixteen team — have become
Hometown: Fort Worth, Texas
1993-94: Averaged 22.9 points and had a Hurricane program-record total of 93 3-point baskets. Shot 46 percent from 3-point range. During the 1994 NCAA Tournament, Collier averaged 31.3 points - the highest scoring average in the entire field.
Today: Collier is a successful high school coach in Texas. After leading Fort Worth Arlington Heights to the 2011 Class 5A semifinals, he became the head man at Lewisville High School.
Hometown: Saginaw, Mich.
1993-94: Averaged 12.5 points and 5.7 rebounds while totaling 138 assists. Against Oklahoma State, Dawkins nailed a left-corner 3-pointer that vaulted TU to the Sweet Sixteen round of the NCAA Tournament.
Today: Dawkins is in his second season as an assistant at Northern Illinois. In seven seasons as the head coach at Saginaw (Mich.) High School, he posted a record of 149-28 and captured state championships in 2007 and 2008.
Hometown: Oklahoma City
1993-94: In 15 minutes a game as a reserve, Johnson averaged 3.9 points.
Today: Now in his fourth season as a Georgia assistant, Johnson was the primary recruiter of Booker T. Washington senior guard Juwan Parker. Last month, Parker signed with Georgia. Johnson was a TU assistant coach in 2001-05.
1993-94: Love was suspended for all but five games because of academic issues. He returned in 1994-95 to average 8.5 points.
Today: In 2005-07, Love was a Shea Seals assistant at McLain High School. In 2009, Love succeeded John Phillips as the Titans' head coach.
1993-94: As a TU freshman, Seals averaged 16.8 points and 6.5 rebounds. He was voted the Missouri Valley Conference newcomer of the year.
Today: As the director of player development, Seals is a first-year member of the TU staff. In five seasons as the Booker T. Washington High School head coach, he led the Hornets to a record of 102-22 and state titles in 2010 and 2011.
1993-94: As TU's junior point guard, Williamson averaged 10.7 points. In 31 games that season, he totaled 117 assists against only 36 turnovers. Against OSU in an NCAA second-round game, he played 38 minutes, scored 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting and did not commit a turnover.
Today: Williamson is a first-year member of the TCU staff. While serving as a TU assistant in 2001-05, he was TU's interim head coach during the 2004-05 season. After leaving TU, Williamson was on the Wichita State staff in 2005-07, the Texas A&M staff in 2007-11 and the SMU staff in 2011-12.
— BILL HAISTEN, World Sports Writer
Original Print Headline: Old friends reunite as coaches
Bill Haisten 918-581-8397